10 things to know about the history of women at New York Life.

New York Life | March 16, 2020

Updated February 28, 2024

vintage photo of NYLIC meeting of women

Pictured above: photo of audience at women's panel at a New York Life sales club convention, Coronado, CA, 1954.

In recognition of Women’s History Month, in this installment of our heritage series we spotlight some of the milestones and notable achievements of women at New York Life throughout the company’s over 175-year history.

1. New York Life hired its first female employee, Winifred Supple, 35 years before women had the constitutional right to vote, 79 years before federal law prohibited gender discrimination in employment, and 89 years before women were entitled to equal access to credit and housing.

2. Minnie Tumbleson became the first female New York Life agent in 1891 and became recognized as a leading agent of the day.

3. In 1916, Mrs. Alex McColl became president of the $100,000 club, the first woman to win the presidency of a New York Life sales club.

4. Anna Rusche was our first female general manager, now referred to as managing partner, in 1923.

5. Beginning in the 1940s, the company hired a number of notable women who enjoyed long, successful careers at New York Life, including Eve Byron Wyatt, Gertrude Nelson, Mary E. L. Cassedy, Dorothy Landon, Barbara Hinebaugh, Pat Nowak, and Rose Beattie.

6. In 1953, New York Life Agent Lucille Devore Tucker joined the Million Dollar Round Table (the highest industry honor for an insurance salesperson), the first woman to do so.

7. Michael Kraft became the first woman to win the company’s highest honor for a managing partner when the Oakland Office (now East Bay Office) received the 1995 Chairman’s Trophy.

8. Five of the past eight Council presidents — the top agent in the company by annual sales — have been women: Christie Mueller, Seattle Office, in 2016; Lizzie Dipp Metzger, El Paso Office, in 2017; Donna Elison, New Orleans Office, in 2018; Jennifer Leisman Dessert, Boston Office, in 2020; and Carrie Hall, Arizona Office, in 2021. 

9. Today, women make up 59 percent of New York Life’s workforce.

10. In the field, 35 percent of agents are women, as are 33 percent of the company’s executive officers.


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Media contact

Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937